BIRN Romania Launches Coronavirus Reporting Project

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The Black Sea Trust For Regional Cooperation, BST, a project of the US German Marshall Fund, has awarded BIRN Romania a journalism grant for monitoring, analysing and deconstructing cases of disinformation from Romania and Moldova related to the coronavirus crisis.

Photo: Dimitri Karastelev / Unsplash

Between May 1 and December 30, 2020, a total of at least ten journalists from Moldova and Romania will produce around 35 fact-checking stories to be published locally and internationally.

A pool of resources for the public on how to measure, report and block disinformation and one policy paper with the main findings and a set of suggested actions will be published.

Most of the media coverage in both Romania and Moldova is currently focused on the everyday reality of the coronavirus pandemic: what is happening, what are the measures being taken by local and national authorities, and what can be expected.

”Uncertainty about the future looms and anxiety is at its highest, driven not only by natural fear in the proximity of the unknown but mainly by a large number of COVID-19 falsehoods that are still spreading like wildfire on social media, driven also by unethical and unprofessional reporting,” said Marian Chiriac, director of BIRN Romania.”

“In such a context, we believe that there is a huge need for factual reporting, for stories which are double fact-checked, and for a way of reporting which not only increases public debate and the accountability of officials, but which also cause an upward spiral of engagement and altruistic action,” Chiriac added.